E-M1 RAW Files noise processing advice

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by theanser, May 2, 2014.

  1. theanser

    theanser Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Dear all,

    Is it me that I feel that the noise control of em1 is actually a stop lower compared to em5? I found that while shooting RAW in EM1 it is quite noisy with a degree of color noise too (colorful pixels). Would it be better off shooting with sharpness settings to -2 and to process the RAW files on Olympus Viewer rather than Lightroom?

    Here is an example [​IMG]

    Its noticeable mostly for indoor shooting when at high ISO but I found that this issue surfaces even at ISO 1600 - 3200
    Hope for some advices.

    Thanks !
  2. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Hmmm.... that goes against what I've found and most reviewers have found.
    EM1 in high ISO has about a stop advantage at ISO6400 over EM5. ISO3200 on EM5 generally looks like ISO6400 on EM1.
    Even looking at dpreviews comparisons.
    At higher ISO's you will always get some colour noise - irrespective of camera brand and manufacturer. I just use the colour noise slider and I'm generally done. Lightrooms demosaicing and noise reduction algorithms are pretty good and usually smart enough that you don't lose too much detail doing this. Where you do end up losing detail is if you crank up the luminance slider too much and get water colour effects.
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Sharpness settings on the camera have no effect on raw files - only jpegs. I suggest you play about with LR's noise settings that work for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    Enable chroma NR (Color NR) and bump it up until you clean up all the color noise (Usually less than 25). It generally doesn't hurt your details too much in ACR and since Lightroom uses the same engine it should handle it fine.
  5. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    IF LR's noise reduction is not enough, I use Nik Dfine. You can get it as a standalone product or as part of the Nik Collection of plugins (highly recommended).
  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
  7. theanser

    theanser Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Haha! So did u get better results using olympus viewer?

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Mu-43 mobile app
  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    The current version of Oly Viewer is able to match the camera's noise reduction/removal.

    However I was not happy with the auto white balance in Viewer; RawTherapee seems much better.

  9. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    I've been experimenting with Lightroom 5 and here's how I've been handling the noise and sharpening adjustments of my E-M1 RAW files:

    Starting with an example image where I used the following exposure settings: iso 3200 12mm f2.8 and 20sec

    13932755200_35aea2b9da_c. Sharpen1.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    I first set all sliders to zero and do a tight 3:1 zoom into part of the picture, here I'm using the upper right corner:

    14119728154_defb078ea1_c. Sharpen1-2.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    When I'm shooting stars, as I did here, this is where I adjust the white balance using a method similar to David Kingham as described in this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KR6xU2opfnU

    14096215506_50cd022cc8_c. Sharpen1-3.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    I then switch to B&W mode:

    13932758130_10e9101340_c. Sharpen1-4.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    I then adjust the Color noise slider until it smooths out like this (in this example I went to +20 with the slider):

    13932764448_79a05815a1_c. Sharpen1-5.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    Now I adjust the Luminance noise slider until it smooths out like this (in this example I went to +30 with the slider):

    14139454353_c66b3cd337_c. Sharpen1-6.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    Now I sharpen to regain some detail (here I went to Amount 50 Radius 0.5 Detail 20. Special Note: I always use the same Radius 0.5 and Detail 20 sharpening settings with all of my E-M1 images and only vary the Amount I use with each image)

    14139454843_7f4199d43f_c. Sharpen1-7.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    Now I go back to color mode:

    13932766088_f6c489bee5_c. Sharpen1-8.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    Here is the original file with no adjustments and the completed image after doing the above and playing with the sliders for color, contrast, whites, blacks, clarity, and saturation.

    13932755200_35aea2b9da_c. Sharpen1.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    View attachment 359484 NATE2191.jpg by NathanHahn, on Flickr

    This might work for you and it might not, it's simply what I've been trying lately.

    • Like Like x 6
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    Haven't used the E-M1 for very long, but I haven't seen a significant difference in noise performance compared to the E-M5 that I've used for 2 years.

    Your color noise reduction is at zero. Of course you're going to see chroma noise. Even FF cameras show chroma noise at ISO 1600 and 3200 without color noise reduction. The Lightroom default is 25, which I find does a great job of removing all those unseemly color dots.
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    In addition to what folks have already said, adjust your expectations: both ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 are 'high ISO'. Anything above that, on current gen MFT bodies, I'd call very high ISO. I find the results with 1600 being very good, the results with 3200 more than acceptable, but you need to use appropriate processing. Noise reduction first, and selective sharpening algorithms (such as Nik's point control sharpening, or appropriate use of unsharp masks so as to avoid 'sharpening' large expanses that have no detail and would thus benefit from not being sharpened at all). As with all critical applications, RAW rather than JPG. obviously :) 
  12. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have found that addressing Luminance noise first really helps when dealing with color noise. In my personal blog, I wrote about a technique that works well for me using ACDSee, but my past experience with Lr tells me it should work with Lr as well. Basically you desaturate the color first, then take care of the luminance noise and then re-saturate. Anything left is the color noise or the luminance noise you chose not to adress for whatever reason. I personally have found it difficult to actually tell the difference between the color and luminance noise so I am always 'hunting' for the right balance between the two. This really helps, I think. (For problem noise, I've found neither ACDSee or Lr to be adequate for this task! I cheat and have a copy of Topaz Denoise!)

  13. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Definitely differences between the EM-5 and EM-1. This web page has some interesting examples.
  14. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    this may suggest that Panasonic sensors are still inferior to Sony...
  15. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    Yeah, I knew about the long exposure differences but didn't think it was applicable in terms of general noise performance. Thanks for the link though--very detailed and informative!

    For typical handheld shutter speeds I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in high ISO between E-M5 and E-M1. I'm sure there are measurable differences since they're different sensors, but for my use I haven't hit any snags yet. Both look splotchy in Lightroom if you reduce color noise reduction to zero, but so does the 5DIII for that matter.
  16. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2014
    Excellent advice, thank you! Works very nicely. :smile:
  17. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    This only impacts low light astro-photography with extremely long exposures and high ISO. Indeed the E-M5 or EM-10 is superior in this regard.
    For pretty much every other kind of photographic work the EM1 sensor is a step up. Especially in the area of noise at higher ISO's.

    Here is an interesting low light real world comparison of the EM1 and some small format sensors like the A7 , DF etc...
    Ignore the auto white balance - the EM1 got this terribly wrong here and many people 'keep warm colours' was set to on (it's supposed to be turned off for indoor shooting). Looking solely at the high ISO it came extremely close to the small format A7, DF etc... in terms of perceptive output noise. The differences were not as dramatic as people make often make out.
    "These are not the droids you are looking for, move along"!

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